November 24, 2008

US History and Me

Here's the thing: I love history. If I hadn't majored in English I'd have majored in history. I was damn near about to have a History minor at the least. I love history and I love learning.

I love world history. I hate US history.

Not because I'm so knowledgeable about my country's history, I'm really not. For some reason I still can't remember what was up with the Bay of Pigs or the Contra...thing, which is sad since I took a summer course over that stuff. But I hate US History more because of the way it's taught.

History is told by the winners, and how you learn anything is obviously dictated by the teacher & the curriculum. Frankly, I don't know if its just TN but the US history curriculum sucks. We didn't learn about African American contributions until I was in 6th damn grade, and they're only now slowly but surely adding in women's contribution.

I'm speaking mostly of high school & middle school where I guess they figure you only need to know just enough. My American History class in 8th grade was seriously garbage and barely covered any ground, we didn't even get up to the 2000s. My honors US History class was a little better because our teacher was a bit of a radical: she was black, Dr M, and thus strove to include everyone in history, blacks, women, whatever she deemed important. I so loved her for it and, mysteriously, all the white people in the class thought she was racist for emphasizing African American contributions. Shit, why not, the book really did/does not! Then everyone thought she was crazy because they were failing. Ah fuck em, I passed so hard.

That was 11th grade. Fast-forward to now, this semester I had to take US History Since 1877. Go figure, it's a history of the US since 1877.

Now, this class is bout as boring as watching oil paint dry on greasy plaster (hint: oil paint takes literally forever to dry) but you know what? The material in the book astounds me. Obviously it's quite different from your standard high school/middle school text book but also the teacher! Prof R, he of the Where the Fuck Is He From accent (I think he's from Arkansas), is pretty liberal and just gives wonderful lectures even if I spend most of the time asleep in the class. He tells history as it should be told, I think, from an evened point of view. Do you know, I damn near fainted when I saw the syllabus would be covering the LGBT movements in the 60s & 70s? Gays & blacks in the military? Profanity!? OMG.

Not only that but he's a pretty gifted speaker. He has this sort of Oxford air about him and it's just like talking, not lecturing. The info he gives, people complain because it doesn't match up with the tests which is a valid grievance, but I just love the material we've covered in the course. It's so mind-blowing and it actually made me realize the reason I hated US history in the first place: the one-sidedness! Prof R isn't afraid to talk shit about the stupid stuff this country has done and I know he's probably hurting a lot of Republican/Conservative feelings in that class. BAHAHA fuck em.

*sniffle* I...I'm thinking about failing it and Women's Studies so I can take them again next semester *wipes away tear*

I'm kidding, my scholarship money is riding on good grades

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